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How Often Should a Furnace Cycle?

How Often Should a Furnace Cycle?

November 22nd, 2021


When you live someplace like Canton, you probably don’t think about your heating system that much. Still though, when you do need it, you want it to work as powerfully and efficiently as possible, right? Well, if it’s short-cycling it’s not working effectively or efficiently.

Short-cycling is the name given to the process where your furnace cycles on and off in short rapid bursts instead of full heating cycles. So what is a full heating cycle? About 2-3 times per hour in 10-15 minute lapses. It may run a bit longer on exceptionally cold days when it takes a while for the heater to reach the desired temperature set on your thermostat.

So, what’s going on when your furnace isn’t cycling regularly–when it is a victim of short cycling? Read on to find out!

Your System May Be Overheating

Your gas furnace has a component called the heat exchanger. This heat exchanger houses combustion gases that provide heat for the air to blow over, and this is how you get heated air inside your home. If the heat exchanger is dirty or has some other type of damage to it, it can overheat. If this happens, as a safety feature it will cause your furnace to cycle off until the heat exchanger cools back down. But once that happens it will just cycle back on because the external temperature is still signaling to the thermostat that the furnace needs to run.

So how does this happen? As we just mentioned, the heat exchangers may be dirty, or alternatively, you may have:

  • Clogged air filters
  • Closed resisters or vents
  • Blocked registers or vents
  • Blocked exhaust pipes

Air filters can, fortunately, be changed every 1-3 months by the homeowner. So, check this first, and if this resolves the issue of short-cycling, you’re good to go!

You May Have a Thermostat Problem

Your thermostat is essentially the “brain” of your HVAC system, signaling to it what to do and when to do it. So naturally, if there’s a thermostat problem, that means you have an HVAC problem too.

Go ahead and take a look at your thermostat–does it appear to be operating correctly? Is the display lit up? Do temperature readings change as the furnace cycles on and off? It’s also a good idea to consider your thermostat’s location too. If it’s near a window in direct sunlight, this is going to impact the temperature reading, just as it would if it was in the coldest part of your home.

Your Furnace Might be Oversized

Is your furnace on the newer side? As in, this is your first year using it, and you noticed it was short-cycling from the moment you turned it on for the first time? Unfortunately, this likely means that your furnace wasn’t sized correctly for your specific home to begin with.

Unfortunately in this case, you’ll want to look into getting a furnace replacement from a reputable and trusted HVAC company, to ensure that a proper heat load calculation is done so that your furnace isn’t too big or too small for your home.

Contact Dayco Systems for quality HVAC repair in Canton, GA.